Seniors in the very near future will have many new ways of tracking and reporting their health to doctors and other medical personnel. One of the most important advancements in health care during the recent decade are ‘personal data trackers’ that can help doctors monitor their patients while they are at home. These devices include portable electrocardiograms that are built into a smartphone case, as well as mobile apps and activity trackers that help keep tabs on patients and even GPS devices.
New Companies Are Often Targeting Seniors Specifically
New companies are starting up all around the company that include smart technologies like pill trackers that let caretakers and doctors know if pills have been missed, senior monitoring systems, and even mattress sensors that can measure heart and breathing, and send an alert if any problems arise.
For example, recently the medical record company Practice Fusion partnered with the manufacturers of a smartphone heart monitor (AliveCor) and an online diabetes management system (Diasend), to facilitate the integration and reporting of important medical information.
Many of these new technologies will need to get FDA clearance – a process which can sometimes take years – before they enter the market. However, others like the Nike+ FuelBand and Fitbit (which work essentially like pedometers) and the Wellframe app that guides patients through a cardiac rehabilitation program — are primarily meant to foster healthful habits and are either currently available or will be soon on the market.
Some Remain Cautious About the Impact of these Technologies on Privacy Rights
However, although these technologies are impressive and very likely to become an important part of the medical landscape soon, there are some that are skeptical or caution of these new technologies. For example, many mobile apps rely on patient-generated data, which some doctors are reluctant to rely on. Some consumers are worried about privacy interests in relation to these new forms of medical reporting. Some privacy advocates are concerned that the existing federal privacy law won’t be applicable to the growing volume of data that is now being produced by the various health devices and mobile applications. These advocates point to a need to change the existing privacy law so that it is able to incorporate these new technologies into its privacy framework.